A concerned mum has sounded a warning after her five-year-old daughter developed a badly swollen face after washing in tap water.
Michelle Alder revealed eczema sufferer Keira suffered a nasty reaction around her left eye and on both hands as large parts of Lancashire were put on cryptosporidium alert, now in its 14th day.
But, while health experts have assured the public the bug is only a problem when swallowed, United Utilities are taking a safety first stance by advising everyone in the affected areas to use either boiled or bottled water to clean cuts and skin conditions.
So far there have been no cases of infection confirmed by scientists at Public Health England.
“I know it can’t be crypto,” said Michelle, of Sefton Street, Lostock Hall.
“But something has aggravated her skin and caused her eczema to flare up.
“It might be just coincidence, but I’ve been wondering if they have been putting something extra into the water supply to clear up the bug.”
United Utilities, which has been battling for almost two weeks to eradicate the parasite from the network in Preston, South Ribble, Chorley, the Fylde Coast and parts of Blackburn, admit they have increased the level of chlorine during the alert.
A spokesman said: “Chlorine concentration levels do fluctuate all the time during the water treatment process.
“ And, whilst the concentration has increased slightly, it is not at a level that we would regard as high and do not believe that this would cause a sudden onset of eczema.
“The concentration levels we’re talking about are always much lower than what you would find in swimming pools.
“In addition fluoride is not added to the water in this location.”
Michelle took Keira to her GP after the reaction happened overnight. She was back again yesterday for a second course of antibiotics.
She added: “Her left eye has been really swollen and painful. And her hands have been so bad she has had to wear gloves.
“I’ve been in touch with United Utilities and they have been very good. They have sent us lots of bottled water and are keeping in touch to see if we need any more.”
The United Utilities spokesman added: “As a precaution, we are advising cuts and abrasions should be washed with water that has been boiled and cooled. If customers have any concerns about existing medical conditions they should seek medical advice in the first instance.”
For all our previous coverage on the water contamination situation in Lancashire visit the links below: